MAGENIS, Richard (c.1763-1831), of Chanter Hill, nr. Enniskillen, co. Fermanagh

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



1812 - 21 Jan. 1828

Family and Education

b. c.1763, 1st s. of Richard Magenis, MP [I], of Waringstown, co. Down and 2nd w. Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Col. William Berkeley. educ. ?Westminster 1778. m. (1) 6 Sept. 1788, Lady Elizabeth Anne Cole (d. 26 Apr. 1807), da. of William Willoughby, 1st earl of Enniskillen [I], 5s. (1 d.v.p.) 4da.; (2) 19 Apr. 1815, Elizabeth, da. of James Callander (afterwards Campbell) of Craigforth, Stirling and Ardkinglas, Argyll, wid. of Col. George Dashwood, 1s. suc. fa. 1807. d. 6 Mar. 1831.

Offices Held

MP [I] 1790-7.

Collector, Cavan 1797-1801; commr. of accts. [I] 1800-12.

Lt.-col. co. Fermanagh militia 1803.


The Magenis (or Maginnis) family claimed to be a sub-branch of the extinct lords of Iveagh (Viscounts Magenis). Richard Magenis senior, who married the sister of the philosopher Dr. George Berkeley, bishop of Cloyne, was Member for Bangor, 1783-90, Fore, 1794-7, and Carlingford, 1798-1800, and left his Down and Antrim estates to his elder son and namesake in his will, which was proved in 1807.2 This Member had joined his father in the Irish Parliament in 1790, when he was given a seat for Enniskillen by his father-in-law. A placeman and Orangeman, he was again returned for that borough, of whose corporation he was a member, at the general election of 1812, this time by his brother-in-law, the Tory 2nd earl of Enniskillen.3 In 1815 he married the daughter of the self-styled baronet, Sir James Campbell of Ardkinglas. He was an inactive supporter of Lord Liverpool’s administration, which was reluctant to condone his non-residence in Ireland by acceding to his wish for a place on the linen board.4

Returned unopposed at the general elections of 1818, 1820 and 1826, Magenis made no reported speeches in this period. No trace of parliamentary activity has been found for the 1820 session, and he missed the division on ministers’ conduct towards Queen Caroline, 6 Feb. 1821, perhaps under pressure from his patron, who had temporarily broken with them on this issue. However, he was probably the ‘McKinnies’ who (like his brother-in-law Sir Galbraith Lowry Cole) was described by Lord Lowther* as one of the remarkable ‘deserters’ from government on the failed opposition motion for reinstating Caroline’s name in the liturgy, 26 Jan.5 Magenis divided against Catholic relief, 28 Feb. 1821, and the Catholic peers bill, 30 Apr. 1822. He voted against repeal of the additional malt duty, 3 Apr., Hume’s motion for economy and retrenchment, 27 June 1821, and more extensive tax reductions to relieve distress, 11, 21 Feb. 1822. He was in the government majority against abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships, 13 Mar., and paired for its minority on this, 2 May 1822. He divided against parliamentary reform, 20 Apr. 1823, and alteration of the representation of Edinburgh, 26 Feb. 1824. He voted against repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Act, 16 Apr. 1823, and for the duke of Cumberland’s annuity bill, 10 June 1825. He divided against government for inquiry into the legal proceedings against the Dublin Orange rioters, 22 Apr. 1823, but for the Irish unlawful societies bill, 15, 25 Feb., and against Catholic claims, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May 1825. Although in February 1826, presumably following a bout of illness, Lord Belmore commented that he ‘looks twenty years younger than he did last year’, he apparently missed the whole of that session.6 His last known vote was against Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827.

Magenis vacated his seat at the start of the 1828 session to accommodate another of his wife’s brothers, Arthur Henry Cole, and he never returned to the Commons, although he was considered as a possible stopgap candidate for Antrim on the Hertford interest in 1830.7 He died, at his new London residence of 39 Grosvenor Place, in March 1831. Despite having already settled property on him, by his will, dated 9 Oct. 1826, he left his residuary estate, which included personal wealth sworn under £40,000, to his eldest son Richard William (1789-1863), who had lost an arm at the battle of Albuera. Noting in a third codicil of 3 Dec. 1829 that he now found himself in improved circumstances, he made additional bequests, notably of £5,000 to his third son Henry Arthur Cole Magenis (1793-1852), through whom the family descended, and his fifth son Sir Arthur Charles Magenis (d. 1867), a diplomat.8

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Stephen Farrell


  • 1. Not 29 Jan., the date of the new writ, as given in HP Commons, 1790-1820, iv. 521.
  • 2. Hist. Irish Parl. v. 173-4; Sir A. Vicars, Index to Prerogative Wills of Ireland, 311.
  • 3. Hist. Irish Parl. v. 174-5; HP Commons, 1790-1820, iv. 521; Lord Belmore, Parl. Mems. of Fermanagh, 73-74; P. Livingstone, Fermanagh Story, 142.
  • 4. Add. 40296, f. 40; 40298, f. 18; Black Bk. (1823), 175; Session of Parl. 1825, p. 475.
  • 5. Lonsdale mss, Lowther to Lonsdale, 27 Jan. 1821.
  • 6. PRO NI, Belmore mss D3007/H/14/18.
  • 7. Eg. 3261, f. 248.
  • 8. Enniskillen Chron. 10 Mar. 1831; PROB 11/1783/165; IR26/1263/129; Belmore, 74.